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Dr. Cynthia Chestnut - Fair Fighting Rules

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Dr. Chestnut's Blog

Fair Fighting Rules

  1. Remain respectful of each other to strengthen the relationship.
  2. Be mindful of the time and place for discussion.
  3. Define the problem - Be specific and List the ways you each contribute to the problem
  4. If you don’tdo well with the first 3 steps take a “TIME OUT!” Relax / Calm down if fight or flight is triggered and you are being defensive.
  5. Use “I”statements and identify what you were thinking, feeling and what your needs / desires are: (i.e. I was thinking…and feeling… when …happened. What I needed was …)
  6. Listen with an open mind and do not commit “Fouls” such as name calling, blaming and excuse making;
  7. Use active listening skills by paying attention to non-verbal(s), give eye contact, turn the TV off and attend to what your partner is saying;
  8. Avoid criticism; if you must criticize, balance it with at least one positive comment (i.e. “I appreciate how you... In the future can you remember to also ...?”
  9. BONUS – IF YOU DON’T DO WELL AT ANY OF THESE STEPS AND YOU WANT TO TRY AGAIN…SEEK FORGIVENESS AND GRANT FORGIVENESS!

To pursue forgiveness

  • Say what you did wrong recognizing you injured or was hurtful to partner
  • Empathize with the pain he/she experienced and try to understand from his / her perspective
  • It’s ok to be responsible for your actions
  • State you will work on not doing the behavior again
  • Ask for forgiveness and apologize
  • Forgive yourself
  • To give forgiveness
  • Recognize your pain or injury
  • State your expectations and boundaries
  • Don’t entertain “getting even”
  • Release the anger you feel and any other negative feeling towards your partner
  • Express forgiveness and offer it to your partner

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